YOUNGSTOWN — Local health officials are educating the public on ways to improve health and well-being in Mahoning County, which ranks in the bottom 25% of Ohio counties for overall health.
A Community Health Improvement Plan was created to set priorities, serve as a resource guide, and develop and implement projects, programs and policies to address issues.
In 2020, Mahoning County was No. 71 among Ohio’s 88 counties for overall health outcomes, according to county health rankings and roadmaps. Trumbull County was No. 76. Data for 2021 will be released soon.
Mahoning County Community Health Assessment and Planning (CHA/CHIP) team leaders have been conducting assessments since 2011 to measure the state of community health. Mahoning County’s most recent assessment included a written survey of county adults and teens, allowing the county to compare their health assessment data to national, state and local health trends.
The following priorities were selected in Mahoning County:
l Improve mental health status and reduce substance abuse and addiction;
l Reduce chronic diseases;
∫ Improve maternal and child health;
∫ Improve the economic and social problems that hinder health; and
∫ Improve health equity.
The officials said that over the next three years, strategies and action steps will be implemented with the aim of improving the health and well-being of the people and creating lasting and lasting change.
Officials noted that health and wellness is not just the absence of disease, but is a state of physical, social and emotional well-being that occurs when the environment in which a person lives, works and plays provides sufficient support and opportunity for good health.
HEALTHY EATING / ACTIVE LIVING
Sarah Lowry, director of Healthy Community Partnerships for Mahoning and Trumbull counties, said the goal was to address and improve health rankings in both counties by looking at different health factors, including how long and quality of life, and the chronic diseases that people face.
“We focus on ‘healthy eating’. Active life.’ One of the areas of focus will be to remove all barriers preventing people from eating healthy and being physically active. Being able to eat a healthy diet and be physically active are essential to mental and physical well-being,” Lowry said.
She said access to food for all residents is important – both physical location where people can get healthy food and affordability.
Farmers’ markets have proven to be an opportunity for this. Another is reaching out to owners of small local convenience stores and grocery stores to offer healthy produce and other foods, she said.
She said groups like ACTION are partners working to have mobile markets in Youngstown. There is also SNAP eligibility to be able to buy healthy food, with residents receiving vouchers.
“We will work with local organizations so they can access food by walking, cycling and using public transport,” she said.
Lowry said there was an effort to make physical activity part of people’s daily routines as well as incorporate walking into community events like “Walk Youngstown,” a campaign encouraging people to walk during the day.
“With the weather warming up, we want to encourage people to walk in their neighborhood. We want to look at programs and events to provide people with opportunities to be outdoors and active in their daily routines. We want people to feel safe in parks and green spaces to walk around,” Lowry said.
Cycling events are also planned to encourage people to cycle in parks and other areas.
HEALTH RANKING PRIORITIES
Tracy Styka, community health education specialist for Mahoning County Public Health, said the agency is working on all five priority areas.
Styka said that in 2010 and 2011, the public health agency, working with more than 30 community partners, conducted a community health assessment and developed a tri-county community health improvement plan to guide the region in implementing strategies to improve health status. local residents.
“We focus on improving people’s quality of life. We look at what people are experiencing in their neighborhood and the challenges and barriers they may face, such as do they have transportation to get to healthy food, health care, and doctor’s offices. There is also concern that people may be able to afford healthy foods,” Lowry said.
Lowry said she had seen the county’s health rankings and said there were areas that needed improvement.
Data is collected through a public survey to update a strategic community health assessment plan to improve health outcomes.
Residents of Mahoning and Trumbull counties can help the Valley become healthier by taking the survey at www.mahoningtrumbullhealthsurvey.com. The results will help local health departments and partners identify key priorities to focus on over the next three years.
IN FIGURES | Mahoning County Health Ranking
Mahoning County ranked #71 among Ohio’s 88 counties in the 2020 Health Rankings Report. Details:
• Population – 228,683
• Premature deaths – 9,300
• Poor or fair health – 20%
• Life expectancy – 76.4 years
• Infant mortality – 60
• Infant mortality – 8
• Adult smokers – 23%
• Adult obesity – 33%
• Physical inactivity – 32%
• Access to exercise opportunities – 81%
• Excessive alcohol consumption – 17%
• Food insecurity – 15%
• Limited access to healthy food – 11%
• Drug overdose deaths – 48
• Death by motor vehicle accident – 9
• Primary Care Physicians – 960:1
• Dentists – 1,390:1
• Mental health care providers – 270:1
• Unemployment – 5.7%
• Children living in poverty – 27%
• Children in single-parent households –
• Violent crimes – 279
• Median household income – $48,000
• Children eligible for free/reduced lunches – 40%
• Driving alone to get to work – 85%
• Driving alone on long journeys – 23%
SOURCE: County Health Rankings